Angella Christie - "The Breath Of Life"
By Terrence Richburg

Rarely does one have the opportunity to experience a sound which truly transcends the limitations ordained for and among the human senses. It's like seeing colors beyond the light spectrum normally discernable by your eyes, or feeling sensations which extend beyond the hand's ability to reach or listening to a resonance above the frequency range capable of the human ear's desire to hear--such is the privilege of sitting undisturbed with complete focus on the music of Angella Christie as she utilizes all of herself to express the depths of her heart at a level of joy and excitement only found in "The Breath of Life." The award winning Christie was undoubtedly created to minister with the captivating "voice" of her saxophone. She truly sings through her instrument and reaches listeners with incredible tone, range, excitement and a level of acceptance normally only reserved for the most accomplished of vocalists.

Produced and arranged by Kevin "Griff" Griffen and Angella herself, Christie's latest Gospel Jazz CD release, The Breath of Life , showcases her amazing gift at a level far more intense and comprehensive than any of her previous project productions. With the CD title's profound play on words, Christie's life sustaining physical "breath" is transformed into a powerful force of God within her music that blows outward and brings forth new life by the Spirit's invitation and accepted indwelling within the believer.

Angella Christie has indeed mastered the key ingredients and sometimes rare blend for predominately instrumental Gospel Jazz CD projects--that is to gain the listener's immediate trust for the project with great packaging and for each and every song with a dynamic intro, an awesome journey experience of inspiration during each familiar and original song selection, then to be wowed with an assortment of unforgettably explosive and touching endings, and finally an overall pristine production with top notch musicians and musicianship that leaves you breathless, even with a "breath of life" intention at stake.

From the first note and unique rhythm arrangement of the ever popular cover, Like the Dew you already know that you're in for something really special and find it difficult to turn your attention away for even a second. Then followed by everyone's Martha Munizzi favorite, Because of Who You Are , you're sold and you can't help but raise your hands in praise and thanksgiving and sing along.

A Christie original composition, John 3:16 highlights both Angella's remarkable writing and improvisational skills from an obviously rich acquaintance and study of the jazz saxophonist greats of our day. John 3:16 is also a particular favorite of mine which demonstrates a technique I often utilize by applying melodic and harmonic character to express an idea normally conveyed through words, or in this case The Word, while still preserving the musical art form of jazz, or "jazz fusion"--a task which she has accomplished in excellent fashion.

Praise Jam - ATL Hollas Back is an amazing nuptial union of down home, foot stomping, hallelujah pumping, up tempo praise with a legitimized infusion of modern jazz harmony at its best. Christie's melody lines and accents are somewhat avant-garde in nature, but they work so well and take you to a higher spiritual plain with perfected execution.

I Need You Now , a Smokie Norful composition is a song difficult to "cover" because of the highest level of performance having already been achieved by the original writer and artist, yet Angella shows us that it can be effectively done instrumentally by her letting us in on an intimate, deeper side of her artistry as she ministers on a purely personal level.

We've Come This Far By Faith and Everything That Hath Breath , two more of Christie's house pumping originals flavored with tight, thematic background vocals express the essence and source of Angella's excitement and overflowing bliss musically and spiritually, as she gets to really solo, "jam", and minister all at the same time with her musicians, her audience and of course her Savior. The ending of We've Come This Far By Faith alone makes this song worth listening to.

Saving what I believe is the best for last, as for Total Praise , this spine-tingling interpretation of the incomparable Richard Smallwood penned universal classic and enduring favorite of the contemporary church astoundingly excels beyond what I believe even the writer had in mind or ever dreamed of. The majestic "rush" of this emotion arresting arrangement leaves no stone unturned musically nor spiritually. The cascading crescendos of "amen" modulations at the end simply can't be described with mere words, but can only fully be experienced in the hearing--as you're literally caught up and ushered into the throne room of God to offer total praise and outpouring worship only to Him, the only one who is truly worthy.

There are just no letdowns or disappointments with this project, and in fact it is one of the best I've ever heard or had the pleasure to review. If you haven't already don't even hesitate to pick-up your copy of Angella Christie's, The Breath of Life for it will breathe new life into you and have you panting for more.